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Author Topic: The Emergent Church  (Read 14047 times)

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Offline Bon Voyage

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The Emergent Church
« on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 17:03:59 »
I've seen Rob Bell, of Mars Hill Bible Church (an emergent church) plenty of times at corporate worship over the years where my father preaches.  Jeff Manion, a guy who sometimes preaches at Mars Hill, and is the pastor at Ada Bible Church not too far away from Mars Hill, used to belong to the same church planting mission as my folks (don't know if
he is emergent).

I don't know much about MacLaren, except for a few quotes I've read that I find troubling.

Are all these guys on the same page?  Are they all presenting the \"I'm OK, you're OK\" gospel?  Or are their methods different, are they showing love in a way others aren't?

Feel free, if you know more than I do, to share what you know.

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The Emergent Church
« on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 17:03:59 »

Offline Nevertheless

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #1 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 20:57:16 »
What do you mean by \"emergent\"?

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #1 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 20:57:16 »

Offline david johnson

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #2 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 04:17:45 »
Quote
What do you mean by "emergent"?
a buzzword that isn't too old yet, but will soon join the other cliches.  the last 'emergent church' fan i spoke with didn't comprehend the difference between various learning styles people exhibit and aspects of his new found interest.

i am not one of the e/c fans.
i believe there is a lot of info available for you, though.  the idea may help you & yours.

dj
« Last Edit: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 04:01:37 by david johnson »

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #2 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 04:17:45 »

Offline Skip

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #3 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 09:12:58 »
In my experience, the 'philosophy or idea', the 'way of thinking', is called \"Post-modernism\".
The believer or church (assembly of believers) that is attempting to follow Post-modern ideas describe themselves as Emergent.
HTH
(Corrections welcome...)

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The Emergent Church
« Reply #3 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 09:12:58 »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

Offline Lee Freeman

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #4 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 17:26:34 »
From Emergent Village's website

http://www.emergentvillage.com/Site/index.htm:


EMERGENT IS …

Emergent is a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Our dream is to join in the activity of God in the world wherever we are able, so that God’s dreams for our world come true. In the process, the world can be healed and changed, and so can we.

In English, the word “emergent

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #4 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 17:26:34 »



Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #5 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 07:19:09 »
I posted this last night in a discussion that now seems oddly out of place in the book review section (It's under a thread on how to get a free advance copy of McLaren's new book, if you want to read the whole thing).  Lee Freeman suggested I weigh in here, so I'll start by posting this.  On the other thread I have been asked to provide a bit more clarity, which I will do on this thread when I have a bit more time.  Wednesdays are busy for youth ministers.  Anyway, here's what I posted:
Quote
Ok, I wasn't going to say anything else, but it's getting really frustrating, so I'm back in.  Many of you are simply misrepresenting Emergent/the Emerging Church.  I really don't think you are doing it intentionally, but you are doing it nonetheless.  I have read almost everything written by "Emergent" and have read most of what's critical of it.  I have personally discussed many of these issues with several leaders in the emerging church, including the National Coordinator of Emergent, Tony Jones and also Doug Pagitt.  I'm not dropping names here, I'm just saying that I'm not just speculating or judging simply based on what I've read on the internet.  So, I'm going to offer a couple of observations for whatever they are worth.
a)  I can find absolutly noone who is advocating "postmodern Christianity".  There may be someone, but I haven't found them.  What is being advocated is that some of us engage a changing culture.  What is being suggested is that maybe we don't have to convert people to modernity before we can convert them to Christianity (you know, since there were Christians before the advent of Modernity).  What some of us are wondering is if modernity (which is arguably more humanistic than postmodernity) maybe wasn't the best thing that ever happened to Christianity.
b)  What is being suggested in the emerging church is that while it was quite appropriate for Christianity to engage modernity and take that philosophy "captive for Christ", we make have made a mistake by totally embracing modernity to the point that many feel Christianity is utterly dependent on it.  What I hear being constantly cautioned against in the emerging church is that while can and should take postmodernity "captive for Christ", and while we should and must listen to postmodernity's critique of modernity to untangle it from Christianity, we must NOT make the same mistake that the church made with Modernity.
c)   Leaders in the emerging church are quite clear that they are not calling on everyone to abandon existing church structures.  They are simply asking for support, or at the very least that traditional/modern Christians would focus their energy on reaching the significant part of the population that a modern version of the Gospel can connect with instead of tearing into those of us who are trying to find another way to express the truth in a radically changing culture.
d)  The accusation that the emerging church is presenting an "I'm OK, You're OK" Gospel or that they have an "everybody's in (universalist) ecclesiology is simply false.  What is being questioned is the practice of "motivation by exclusion" that most churches practice.  What many of us are wondering is if belonging to a faith community might actually lead to believing more effectively than doing it the other way around (and may actually be more Biblical).  Read McLaren's new book "The Secret Message of Jesus" when it comes out in April (or just read my reviews of it for the quotes).  He will surprise a great many of his critics on this point.
e)  Postmoernism, as a philosophy/epistemology is still in its embrionic stage.  So far it simply points out the flaws of modernism (deconstruction) and is just beginning to reconstruct an alternative.  It can't be defined yet because it is still in the very early stages of it's development which may/will take hundreds of years.  Even so, many of it's criticisms of modernity are valid and should be headed.  Thank God some are willing to actually consider what this shift means for the Church and for the Gospel rather than hiding their heads in the sand and hoping it will go away.  (It is quite possible that our overcommittment to modernity stems from the fact that the church vacilated between ignoring it and declaring it "evil" and "foreign to the gospel" for years until they realized this was not the case and doing a pendulum swing.)

I need to get back to some other things, but I'm sure I'll be back with more observations later.
AE
AE

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #5 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 07:19:09 »

Offline kanham

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #6 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 07:25:02 »
This is my response to the above post in the Book Review section.

Ellisadam,

Quote
What is being suggested is that maybe we don't have to convert people to modernity before we can convert them to Christianity

What does that mean? How does that play out? Any examples?

Quote
What is being questioned is the practice of "motivation by exclusion" that most churches practice.

What does this mean? What is motivation by exclusion? Can you explain that? How do you define most churches? Are you specifically talking about the Church of Christ?

Quote
What many of us are wondering is if belonging to a faith community might actually lead to believing more effectively than doing it the other way around

What is the other way around? Where does the other way around happen and how?

My only issue, not knowing if this is directed at me in anyway, is that it is easy to attack the incumbents making claims about how it will be better but no way to find out if that is really true for 50 years so maybe we better go slow since what is being demanded isn’t even defined.

I have read many books and I have been to emergent churches or at least churches that claim to be emergent. I have read their material and talked people who go there. If I thought that these experiences were making people who were more faithful then I would be pushing full force. I have not interviewed or seen anything close to that. They claim to be emergent and they claim to have read the books you talk about too.

I am not trying to be combative but I need more information. I would love for someone to give me more clarity on this discussion because I simply have not been impressed to date.  Sorry, all I have is what I have observed.


Offline marc

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #7 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 07:47:56 »
What percentage, what sector of society is currently reached by our approach to Christianity?  Will this percentage increase or decrease in the coming years?

I see the emergent church movement as a searching, as a way of both catching up with the way the language of our culture is changing and anticipating the way it will change.  I think it's an effort to make Christianity relevant in our current world, not only as a way to reach more of those around us, but also as a way to make spirituality more reachable for those among us, those who are living in this changing culture.

There are struggles, of course.  It's a struggle to hold on to eternal truth as part of a culture that views truth differently than we have learned to view it.  The sifting process, the discovery of what needs to be held on to and what needs to be rejected, is a painful one.  Being human, we won't always arrive at the correct answers. 

One thing that's surprised me about this movement, btw, is the way that the leaders are holding on to old forms and finding ways to make the forms relevant in the changing culture.

One reason, I think, that this is all been so controversial is the fear of losing core doctrinal truths.  This is understandable.  I don't know that it's an either/or proposition, though.  A second reason is that how much we are to engage our culture is an open question.  I do think of Paul's words about being all things to all men, and I look at the way Jesus in his teaching and Paul and the others in their writing approached people where they were, in their culture, and while I see a separation as far as holiness is concerned, I do see a recognition that even followers of Christ live in a certain culture and a certain time. 

Me, I'm just a modern who is enough of a child of the sixties that I grew up believing that questioning everything was a good idea.  I haven't read all that's come before on this thread because of my current vision problems (I hope to have the new specs in the next day or two), and dont' know how relevant I'm being to the discussion, but these are my thoughts.

I think it's too early to judge a movement that is only just beginning (and seems to me to have a lot to offer.)

Offline david johnson

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #8 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 07:56:52 »
 'modernity (which is arguably more humanistic than postmodernity)'

backwards.

'I think it's too early to judge a movement that is only just beginning (and seems to me to have a lot to offer.)'

they already judged the rest of us.

dj

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #8 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 07:56:52 »

Offline Jimbob

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #9 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 08:22:56 »
Quote
Quote
What is being questioned is the practice of "motivation by exclusion" that most churches practice.


What does this mean? What is motivation by exclusion? Can you explain that? How do you define most churches? Are you specifically talking about the Church of Christ?



Adam & Phil Wilson address this in episode 2 (Community & Belonging) of their Post Restorationist podcast, which mirrors conversations we've had in our household many times.

Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #10 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 08:35:01 »
Quote
'modernity (which is arguably more humanistic than postmodernity)'

backwards.
David,  you are welcome to your opinion, but there are many who (not just in the emerging church movment) who would disagree with you.  There are many who would say that part of the reason for the advent of postmodernity is a reaction against the humanism of modernity.  Like I said though, it's arguable.

'
Quote
I think it's too early to judge a movement that is only just beginning (and seems to me to have a lot to offer.)'

they already judged the rest of us.

This is simply not true of the majority of the ec movement or any (that I can find) of it's leaders.  I am quite sure that you can find a few people who self identify as "emergent" who are angry about their traditional upbringing and cast judgment on the traditional church.  However, the overall thrust of the ec movement is, as I said earlier that: 
Quote
Leaders in the emerging church are quite clear that they are not calling on everyone to abandon existing church structures.  They are simply asking for support, or at the very least that traditional/modern Christians would focus their energy on reaching the significant part of the population that a modern version of the Gospel can connect with instead of tearing into those of us who are trying to find another way to express the truth in a radically changing culture.
It is a falicy to assume that just because some choose to do something a different way, that they are judging you as wrong. 
AE
P.S.  jmg3rd, thanks for plugging our podcast.

Offline johntwayne

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #11 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 10:07:18 »
Well, my gift is in the area of taking complicated things and stating them simply so I will give it a stab....

To understand what "emergent" and "post-modernism" are we have to understand what modernism is/was.

Modernism is/was the spirit that has basically ruled for the last 250 years.   It is the idea that man, through science, knowledge and reason, can solve his most fundamental problems.  We have, based on that idea, made some terrific leaps in science and knowledge but instead of these solving our most fundamental problems we are finding that our new knowldge and science may even be exasperating our most fundamental problems.

Post-modernism is simply a term used to describe people who see the flaw in modernism and are searching for another view.  There are a lot of alternatives being offerred.

The "Emergent" movement is a Christian form of Post-Modernism and like Post-Modernism it really doesn't know yet what it is.  It just rejectes modernism and affirms that the answer to it is found in Christ, Christianity, Church, or similar ideas.  Its not entirely sure or agreed yet on just how these are the answer to modernism.

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #12 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 21:26:32 »
Lee, thanks for the definitions.  Unfortunately, though I read the whole post carefully, what I heard was something like:  "Blah, blah, blah,  “emerging postmodernism

Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #13 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 08:46:28 »
Quote
So how can people promote a philosophy if they don't know what it is, and why would anyone be persuaded to adopt it?

Nevertheless,
It's becoming clear to me that maybe this is the heart of the misunderstanding about the emerging church movement/conversation.  Emergent is not trying to pursuade people to adopt postmodernism.  It is not trying to encourgage churches to become "postmodern churches" or Christians to become "postmodern Christians".  Postmodernity is a philisophical and cultural shift in the way people "come to know things" that is taking place in the culture at large.  It is in it's early stages, but it is catching, particularly in younger generations.  Because it's in it's early stages, it is, of course caught up in deconstructing what came before it (modernity), which is why it has a clunky, silly sounding name like "post-modernity".  This is not something that people are trying to "convert" others to.  It is something that is developing all on its own.  What some of us are trying to figure out is, what is the church going to look like?  How are we going to accurately and effectively communicate the Gospel, when the old ways of "coming to know things" don't communicate the same way anymore?  (this most certainly does not mean that the old ways are "wrong", "bad", or even "stupid".)  What you will find if you look is that many of us in the EC movement/conversation either are or were Youth Ministers.  The reason for this is that we see this stuff first and are having to change our methodology and how we even construct our arguments because what once communicated, now just doesn't with many people.  So, it's experimental in many ways.  It's often confusing, and sometimes scary.  But, for many of us, it's where we must go as a matter of faithfulness to God, the Gospel, and our Calling.
AE

Offline Lee Freeman

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #14 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 09:39:20 »
Lee, thanks for the definitions.  Unfortunately, though I read the whole post carefully, what I heard was something like:  "Blah, blah, blah,  “emerging postmodernism
« Last Edit: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 09:41:52 by Lee Freeman »

Offline OldDad

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #15 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 10:36:19 »
I'm no pomo.  Not mo either as far as that goes.  But I can recognize the influence of both in my thinking.  I'm not sure I have anything to contribute, but here are some hopefully semi-coherent thoughts, rambling and disconnected though they might be...

Post Modernism is not new.  The concept has been around for over a hundred years in the areas of art, architecture, etc.  Toynbee used the term in the 30's and 40's in a social sense, and most folks credit Charles Jencks, writings in the 70's with popularizing the current use  and understanding of the term.

So, we have a philosophy/mind set/paradigm, etc. ad nauseum, ad infinitum, that is at least 30 years old, that tells us it probably won't be able to define itself for a long time (as much as 50 years?), and some of you wonder why we are slow to get in that line?

I hope this doesn't sound cynical, but the vast majority of people who are embracing "Pomo-emergent"-ness couldn't give a rat's about the philosophical underpinnings.  They are adapting a style - of dress, worship, etc.  For most folks "pomo" means their preacher looks like he was dressed by the boys from "Queer Eye", they can wear flip-flops to church, and there's a Starbucks in the lobby.

"Engaging culture" doesn't have to mean being immersed in culture.  John Stott says the message of Jesus was a "counter culture" message.  Yes, you earn the right to speak to people through relationships and not by bashing and attacking, but maturing faith should move us away from the world's culture, to a God centered culture.  Perhaps what Pomo is trying to do is define what the God centeredness should look like.

I am by nature jaded and sarcastic, and I tend to look with jaundiced eye on the "theoriticians" - Pomo pundits like McLaren, Bell, and some others have been and are pastors, but many have never pastored a church in their lives (Len Sweet?).  I will listen a little more to the guy who's done it rather than the guy who's just written about it.

The dialogue needs to continue.  In this issue, as in most issues, the ground of truth is found somewhere in the middle of the extremes. 

OD

Offline memmy

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #16 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 10:44:47 »
I am pretty sure that Paul/Peter/John etc. also got labeled in their day.

Anytime there is change in any direction as far as being more contemporary in any "day"/time period, it has probably stirred up some stuff.

It all boils down to heart.........again!

Where is the intent of the heart? To bring Christ to others, no matter what way is used to do so, is the key element here.

The major key!

Memmy


Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #17 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 12:15:22 »
Hey Everyone,
I stumbled across this radio interview with Doug Pagitt (author and leader in Emergent), in which he talks about the EC movement/conversation and even takes a few questions from callers.  He deals with a lot of the things we've been discussing on this thread.  Doug is very engaging and understandable.  Give it a listen.  I think you'll enjoy it.  Click on this link to listen:  http://web.mac.com/pagitt/iWeb/Doug%20Pagitt.Com/PagittCast/B983370B-F515-4826-A44A-BA1C692B118A.html
AE

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #18 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 12:30:25 »
Lee, I wasn't meaning to be critical of what you posted -- I appreciate it.  It is all just so difficult for me to get a hold of.  Someone mentioned nailing jello to a wall and I think that's appropriate.  The only ones who seem to be willing to name specifics are those who deny being "pomo" or "emergent" or whatever you want to call it.

Now Adam, that was very helpful what you said about not wanting to convert anyone.  So maybe you can help us a little.  What do you think about OD's statements?  Is it mainly style?  The whole bit about trying to figure out what the church will look like in the future is not a distinguishing characteristic.  I would think that most Christians have thought about that as well.  So what is it that makes a church "emergent"?  How would I know if I visited one?

If it's just about using contemporary methods to reach people, and the label is just one of those methods (maybe it sounds cool) then I should probably just quit trying to understand it.  Somewhat like Ebonics or rap music (or opera for that matter!) it's just something that doesn't apply or appeal to me.

Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #19 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 12:51:15 »
Never,
What do I think about OD's statements (I wasn't going to comment on them, but since you asked...)?  I really like OD and on many other threads agree with much of what he says, but here he seemed overly flippant and dismissive.  He certainly knows his stuff as far as PM's beginnings in art and archietecture, and I would agree that many who are being reached by the EC movement have no clue about it's philosophical underpinnings.  Are some simply embracing a "hip" style?  I'm sure.  However that isn't the point of the movement and is an unavoidable byproduct.  I'll actually go farther than that.  I think many who are rushing to "hitch their wagons" to EC are simply what McLaren calles "angry young men" who have a chip on their shoulder about the church they were raised in.  This is also an unfortunate byproduct.  However, this is not the desire or intent of EC.
What makes a church "emergent"?  How would you know if you were in one?  The interesting thing is that from what I understand, many members of what are considered "emergent churches" have never heard of that term.  They simply know that they have found a community of faith where they can connect with the living God and learn the Way of Jesus.  If you were to visit an "emerging church", I'm not sure if you would know it.  I think you might notice that some, but not all make use of "experiential worship" practices that involve some kind of physical symbolic response from the participants.  In some you would find the "sermon" to be a lot more interactive with the audience, looking much more like a conversation than a lecture.  I could go on, but honestly there is no overarching structure or form.  Mainly all that is required to be an "emerging church" is self-identification as one and a willingness to enter this "conversation".
I really recomend that you listen to the Pagitt interview I posted above.  I think you'll find it helpful.
AE

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #20 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 13:15:17 »
I might do that when I have a little more time.  I have a very slow connection, so audio/video downloads take a while.  Thanks.

Offline mwilson1382

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #21 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 13:27:10 »
I am not very good at message boards and things like that (ask my online graduate school teachers) but I wanted to strongly encourage people involved with this conversation (which is in my opinion what the emergent conversation is--a conversation about culture, God and the knowledge of God through Jesus) to listen to the interview with Doug Pagitt that Adam suggested.  I think it will help with some of the conversation and discussion that is going on. 

http://web.mac.com/pagitt/iWeb/Doug%20Pagitt.Com/PagittCast/B983370B-F515-4826-A44A-BA1C692B118A.html

matt
www.matthewjameswilson.blogspot.com

Offline OldDad

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #22 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 13:34:41 »
I don't mean to seem flip or dismissive - well sometimes I do, but not on this issue. 

There are some things being expressed by those who identify themselves as Pomo-Emergent that have value and potential aid for the church.  I'm just not sure embracing the underlying philosophy is anything more than trading one "ism" for another that will eventually have to be discarded in favor of yet another.

Quote
They simply know that they have found a community of faith where they can connect with the living God and learn the Way of Jesus. 

There have always been reformers, iconoclasts, and visionaries in the church (pre-mo, mo, and pomo eras)- who challenged assumptions, practices, and status quo.  Their "agitation" brought about change that was important and necessary and has helped the church better accomplish it's mission.  I sincerely hope that whatever comes of all of this, that the church will be stronger.

Quote
honestly there is no overarching structure or form.  Mainly all that is required to be an "emerging church" is self-identification as one and a willingness to enter this "conversation".


I appreciate the honesty, and frankly the modernist in me is puzzled at the growing influence of something that cannot define itself and resists any efforts to try.  Saying over and over "You just don't get it" doesn't help us with understanding.

It seems more and more to me to resemble that overworked, cliched parable about the blind men describing the elephant.

OD

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #23 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 13:53:09 »
 
I don't mean to seem flip or dismissive - well sometimes I do, but not on this issue. 

There are some things being expressed by those who identify themselves as Pomo-Emergent that have value and potential aid for the church.  I'm just not sure embracing the underlying philosophy is anything more than trading one "ism" for another that will eventually have to be discarded in favor of yet another.

Quote
They simply know that they have found a community of faith where they can connect with the living God and learn the Way of Jesus. 

There have always been reformers, iconoclasts, and visionaries in the church (pre-mo, mo, and pomo eras)- who challenged assumptions, practices, and status quo.  Their "agitation" brought about change that was important and necessary and has helped the church better accomplish it's mission.  I sincerely hope that whatever comes of all of this, that the church will be stronger.

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honestly there is no overarching structure or form.  Mainly all that is required to be an "emerging church" is self-identification as one and a willingness to enter this "conversation".


I appreciate the honesty, and frankly the modernist in me is puzzled at the growing influence of something that cannot define itself and resists any efforts to try.  Saying over and over "You just don't get it" doesn't help us with understanding.

It seems more and more to me to resemble that overworked, cliched parable about the blind men describing the elephant.

OD

I think that the refusal even to try to find any structure gives us a good clue about what postmodernism really is.

From what I've been able to figure out,  postmodernism is really just the onset of cultural (or perhaps civilizational) entropy.    All systems tend to become disorganized and unrecognizable as the organizational mechanism runs out of energy.   I think that's what we're seeing in regard to post-modernism and really in regard to the Church -  western modernims (including western Protestantism)  is running out of steam and as it does so,   it will tend to become progressively more disorganized.

The real challenge is whether some new idea or impulse will inject new energy into the system,  and where that energy will come from.

As far as the emergent Church is concerned,  from what I can see about,  I believe that it's started to develop because the traditional Churches lost their nerve, their courage,  their belief in what they were doing.    It's no suprise that there's a reaction,   but it's a big question to me whether the reaction is beneficial.   In general,  it appears to me not to be beneficial because it seems to be a disintegrating trend.

Offline mwilson1382

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #24 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 14:16:54 »
I feel in some ways we are trying to define something that wasn't meant to be defined.  This was not intended (or from the teachings I have heard) to be a movement of Christianity.  Many of the quote "main stream emergent faces" don't want to be considered that.  They are not the leaders of a movement but faces of a conversation.  

"Emergent is a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Our dream is to join in the activity of God in the world wherever we are able, so that God’s dreams for our world come true. In the process, the world can be healed and changed, and so can we." (http://www.emergentvillage.com).

Here are 4 core values of the emergent conversation:

1. Commitment to God in the Way of Jesus:

We are committed to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God, as the Scriptures teach. In the words of Jesus, we seek to live by the Great Commandment: loving God and loving our neighbors – including those who might be considered “the least of these

Offline Skip

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #25 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 07:50:40 »
I feel in some ways we are trying to define something that wasn't meant to be defined.  This was not intended (or from the teachings I have heard) to be a movement of Christianity.  Many of the quote "main stream emergent faces" don't want to be considered that.  They are not the leaders of a movement but faces of a conversation.  
Not to pick on you, but your quote (above) encapsulates many shortcomings of Post-modernism.

We begin with "I feel in some ways we are trying to define something that wasn't meant to be defined". This is entirely arbitrary, and is couched in typical Emergent jargon, with a whiff of "you just don't get it". The basic problem with the statement is that communication is stunted when there are no definitions -- kind of like trying to read Swahili with no dictionary or Internet translator.

Second, Post-modernism is a movement (or, at the very least, a 'market segment') whether it wanted to be or not. That is true even though I strongly suspect that Post-modernism sprung out of raw Deconstruction, which was never intended to birth a movement, and would therefore appear to be inseparable from Modernism! That is borne out by the fact that prominent Pomo voices are sounding very Modern (in the sense of Liberal Theology) -- leading me to the conclusion that Post-modernism is new packaging for Liberal Theology.

Third, if "main stream emergent faces" don't want to be considered that, then they need to get out of the limelight (if they can do without the considerable revenue they are generating by living in the public eye). As someone suggested, if a "main stream emergent face" feels "spokesman-like" enough to suggest a moratorium on arguably the hottest moral issue in American Christianity -- then let him lead by example. Please.

Finally, we have another characteristic Pomo ambiguity -- [t]hey are not the leaders of a movement but faces of a conversation. How odd it is to have Emergents state, on the one hand, that Moderns* cannot understand Pomos / Emergent ideas on the one hand, yet claims to be a way to engage with and communicate with today's society! What good is a method of "engaging" society (Emergent Christianity) when it alienates and cannot communicate with - "engage" - a large segment of society? It leaves non-Pomos with the sense that Post-modernism is either a fad or a deception.

* ISTM that everyone who is not a Pomo is labeled "a Modern"

Hope that wasn't too "rant-like". Enough for now...  :-X

Offline mwilson1382

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #26 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 09:00:53 »
I had no intention of saying "you just don't get it".  Honestly that would be counter to what I feel my life is about and for that matter what the emergent conversation would be about.  I come from a rich hertiage of the restoration movement and I hope to continue for many years to minister within this tradition.  I did not share my thoughts and information to convince you to think like me or to think emergent or to think post modern like.  I have no intention of that at all. 

I honestly feel that you and I and many other modern/post modern/emergent/conservative/liberal/etc/etc/etc are searching to become the image of Christ to the world.  I pray that we can continue to effectivly do God's will here on earth no matter what our feelings are or what paths we choose to journey.

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #27 on: Sat Mar 11, 2006 - 23:02:26 »
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It leaves non-Pomos with the sense that Post-modernism is either a fad or a deception.


**AMEN!**

[Where's that smiley when I need it?]

Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #28 on: Sun Mar 12, 2006 - 07:18:02 »
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It leaves non-Pomos with the sense that Post-modernism is either a fad or a deception.


**AMEN!**


[Where's that smiley when I need it?]

OK. Once again, no one is trying to convert  here to "postmoderism" or to the Emerging Church.  We are trying to convert people to Jesus. (see the bit above about translating the Gospel.  I don't wish to restate things I've already said.)  Those of us who have chosen to involve ourselves in the Emerging Church Movement/Conversation are simply asking those of you who haven't chosen that path to follow Gamaliel's advice in Acts 5:38-39:

"Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.

Offline memmy

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #29 on: Sun Mar 12, 2006 - 13:05:36 »
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"Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #30 on: Sun Mar 12, 2006 - 13:19:01 »
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"Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”  TNIV


Amen Adam!

I wonder so much why so many believe if the approach to how Jesus is shared is not the same way as we do it, then it has got to be wrong. Many will respond to Jesus in the way that He has been shared in previous years, but to those who need a new way, as many do, it can be done in the way of the "emergent church".

I could almost bet that Jesus was likely an emergent type in His day, and look at how He was treated also. He has remained the same, yesterday, today and will tomorrow, but the world has changed, and we must move along as it has, so as to be able to share with those who can only relate to the world.

In many ways, we should all be praising God when there is a new approach to sharing His Son, even if it does stir some of us up, since most of the time the stirring means that there is activity being brought out to Light.

Remember "A house divided cannot stand", and when Jesus is the center of our focus in what we are trying to present, and He is no doubt the Rock and foundation of His church, then it will stand, even against all pressure of outside forces, trying to destroy what many see and believe with all their heart is good.

Let's all try to find the good in Him, and His movement, in all of us and in others as well, no matter what we want to call or name it, instead of trying to tear it down just because we don't understand the method ourselves. After all, it is or should be all about Him.

Blessings to all who share,

Memmy

Memmy, 

You've once again brought me to that most peaceful inner silence.  I think I will be amazed to see the many jewels you will have in your crown on that day.......

Don

Offline memmy

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #31 on: Sun Mar 12, 2006 - 16:06:00 »
Wow, Don. Once again, thanks for those very kind words.

I am only sharing what is put on my heart, and I can only say that it is not I who lives there anymore, although being human, I do creep in there once in awhile.  ;)

We, all who are His, has Him there in our heart. It's sometimes when we allow ourselves to come before Him and His ways that get us in trouble.

Since we all are human, and although I appreciate it when I hear those kind words, I can't take the credit really. He is taking me to places I am in awe of myself. That happens to us all when we rely on Him completely to take us to new places, and don't think we have already seen them all already.

Our God is just an amazingly awesome God.

The praise goes to Him.

Memmy

Offline Arkstfan

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #32 on: Sun Mar 12, 2006 - 16:07:49 »
The emeregent church movement isn't really all that new.

Carefully scan what most "emergent" churches are doing and you will see that basically they:
1. Pick up elements of ritual that the protestant movement shunned in favor of a sermon focused service but typically not incorporating the ritual each week, instead flexing between style.
2. Tend to have interactive elements, more chances for members of the body to participate with readings, prayers or songs that weren't pre-arranged by the person in charge of organizing the service.
3. Tend to flex between somber reflective services and higher energy praise services depending on that week's message. May use new "contemporary" songs traditional hymns and even older chants all in the same service.
4. Less likely to base fellowship or to teach pat answers on the "mysteries" of the faith (ie. where was Jesus between death and resurrection, just how does the Trinity work, etc.).

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #33 on: Sun Mar 12, 2006 - 22:10:52 »
Adam, I didn't mean to oppose you or your group or to demean you.  I'm just saying that from my point of view it all sounds like nonsense or a tempest in a teapot.  You probably can't understand my viewpoint any better than I understand yours.  *shrug*

The main thing is that Jesus is glorified, not matter what language we speak!

Offline ellisadam

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Re: The Emergent Church
« Reply #34 on: Mon Mar 13, 2006 - 07:23:53 »
Never,
No offense taken.  I consider you a 'virtual' friend, and took your comments in that context.
What I've apparently not done a great job explaining here is that the emerging church movement/conversation is not trying to "change" existing churches per se (at least not those who see no need to change...and indeed there may be no need for them to change in their context).  My take on the emerging church is that a few people inside of the broader Christian movment/conversation have decided to try to become cultural missionaries in a postmodern context (Postmodernity, itself is just "emerging', hence the name).  The EC conversation/movement has also revived and refreshed the faith of many Christians (such as myself) who found themselves struggling with faith for reasons that were beyond us.  EC is admittedly (by virtually everyone involved) experimental.  It may seem risky and confusing to those in the established church structure (as it sometimes does even to those who have chosen to involve ourselves in it.  However, it sure would be nice to have the support of established churches (much as they support foriegn missionaries, with prayer and emotional support as well as general goodwill).  EC is most certainly not the threat to established churches that many apparently presume it to be.  It would be nice to feel like we aren't having to constantly defend ourselves against our own family.
AE